If you hate crunches but still want to do core-targeting exercises, here are five that are much more interesting than the same ‘ol crunches over and over.

The core refers to the structures of the lower back that support the spine, as well as the abdominal muscles.

Crunches can be dreadfully boring and difficult to adhere to for those wanting to improve core strength.

A better idea would be to do a variety of core-targeting exercises to improve adherence as well as create more comprehensive core conditioning.

Five Core Exercises As Alternatives to Crunches

Downward Dog Single-Leg Crunch

Feet do not have to be flat. Freepik, yanalya

From the downward dog position, bring a knee towards the opposite shoulder, then return to the start position.

Repeat five to 20 times with the same leg, or, alternate legs.

Intensity is modified by how far towards your shoulder you bring the knee, as well as the amount of extension of your body while in the dog position.

Bird Dog Crunch

From the bird dog position, bring a knee towards the opposite shoulder or, if that’s too difficult, to the face. Repeat up to 20x on the same side or alternate legs/arms.

Freepik, yanalya


Freepik.com, yanalya

V Sit

See how high you can go while keeping your legs straight. However, go ahead and bend them if that’s the only way you can hold this position without your hands on the floor. Let your core support you.

CORE, Freepik.com, yanalya

Over time, get the legs higher. A variation is to hold the ankles or tops of the feet. Work up to a 60 second hold.



What can make the plank increasingly tedious for some is the idea that you have to work up to holding this position for five minutes to gain any benefit.


But you can reap much core benefit by sticking to just 30 seconds (two or three sets) BUT increasing the intensity two ways.

The first way is to have your feet on a stair.

The second way is to have a 10 pound plate on your upper back. Over time, use two such plates, working your way up to a 25 pounder.

V Sit Ball Twist

In the V, hold a ball and move it from side to side. This exercise can be modified by slightly bending the legs; touching the floor with the ball; or using a heavier ball. Shoot for 20 reps each side.

Freepik.com, drobotdean

Though these are core exercises, they will also engage the hip flexors.

You need not do all of these in the same session. But you should make a point of doing at least three of them per week.

These will do more for your core than just the same boring crunches over and over.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: George Stepanek/CC